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Categories > Fairground
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Fairgrounds on Film 1915 to 1970
This archive film presentation gives fairground enthusiasts and fans alike the opportunity to look back at fairground life between the years 1915 and 1970.

Fairground rides and attractions shown include steam driven rides such as the Gondola, Whale Switchback, and Harry Lee's famous Steam Yachts. The Moonrocket, Chairoplanes, Cakewalk, Chaser, Ferris Wheels, Skid, juvenile rides and freak shows are also featured with many more too numerous to mention here.

Fairground build-up is shown in 1935 and the late 40's, along with some stunning colour film of VE Day celebrations.

The material was shot in several towns and cities by local film makers and this DVD presentation shows the material much as it was shot - silent and with no attempt to re-edit it or modernise it by adding music, narration or sound effects. However, titles have been added to help explain and date the items were possible.

A Lincolnshire Film Archive Presentation.
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The Herberts of Dorchester and their Steam
Kay Townsend
The story of the Herbert family with recollections, true stories and accounts as told to Kay Townsend.

The family started with horses, progressed to steam haulage and brought up sixteen children along the way! Jack Herbert was a well-respected showman, and whilst transporting his rides and snake show he had many extraordinary incidents, which came with owning traction engines which are re-called in this book.

Any steam enthusiast will enjoy this delve into the past.
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Fairground Focus - The Fairground Illustrated
Malcolm Slater
Available again! from Malcolm Slater,
respected author, photographer and
editor. Extensive black & white
photographs of Fairground Transport past
and present. Each photograph is
accompanied by Malcolm’s descriptive and
informative captions.
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Fairground Transport for the 1980s - A Decade in Photographs
Dick Furniss
A collection of photographs showing a wide cross section of fairground vehicles that portrays the changing fairground transport scene taking place during the 1980s. Showmen are well known for their ability to adapt general haulage vehicles for their own particular needs as you will see in this book. 143pp, illustrated throughout with 240 colour photographs.
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Fairground Focus - The Fairground Illustrated - No 2 Platform Rides
Malcolm Slater
Over 80 pages of full colour photographs
of Speedways/Arks and Waltzer. A
fantastic book that will be of interest
to any fairground enthusiast or showman.
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Moonrocket -The Thriller Ride of The Thirties
Fairground Heritage Trust
This book traces the history of the
Moonrocket ride from it’s inception in
Germany in the mid-30s to the present
day. All rides which operated in the UK
have detailed histories – the German
imports, the 15 rides built by
Lakins/Maxwells, and the sole example
to be constructed by Orton & Spooner.
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A History of Fairground Transport from Horses to Artics
Allan Ford & Nick Corble
Travelling fairs hold a special place
in English history and traditions. Once
or twice a year local towns and
villages are overwhelmed with a
cacophony of sounds, sights and smells,
bringing magic and excitement into
peoples’ lives before, all too quickly,
moving on. The transient nature of
travelling fairs is part of their
magic, and an integral part of that
magic is the transport that carries the
people and the rides. More than just
vehicles however, fairground transport
is often an integral part of the show,
acting as homes for the showmen, a way
of generating power and even converting
into parts of the rides themselves. In
short, they are part of the way of
life. This book looks at the history of
the travelling fair through its
transport, beginning with how it has
evolved from what a performer could
carry on their back and simple horse-
drawn caravans, through to steam-
powered traction engines and war
surplus petrol and electric vehicles,
finally bringing the story up to date
with today’s mega lorries and cranes. -
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Michael Oliver MBE King of Steam
Brian Moore
For over four decades Mike Oliver
bestrode the Dorset landscape like a
giant. He took an idea and with
determination and true grit borne out
of a lifetime of labour on the land and
in the cab of a lorry and with the help
of friends, John Garrett, Arthur Field,
Ted and Gordon Hine, Doc Romanes, Betty
Marsh, the Coles' and Antell families
and others, he built the Great Dorset
Steam Fair. From its early beginnings
with the family binder, a wooden
threshing drum and a field of wheat the
show hasn't changed in over forty
years, only has it got bigger, much
From a few thousand visitors on 200
acres in 1969 to over 200,000 on 600
acres in 2012, the show retains its
simple appeal. The original threshing
drum works on site and the corn is cut
with the same binder that harvested the
first crop. There are hundreds of extra
attractions but it remains the show
where you can step back into the 19th
and early 20th century and be at peace
with the world. This book is a tribute
to the man who made it happen and whose
spirit lives on.
The late Michael Fredrick Oliver MBE
1934-2009: King of Steam Brian Moore
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Road Haulage Archive - Circus Transport
Vintage Roadscene
Lorry enthusiasts have always been
fascinated by circus and fairground
vehicles, probably because the
majority of these lorries are enjoying
a second lease of life. They were
formerly with road haulage or perhaps
military operators before; one
enjoyable aspect is working out which
fleet they came from. They are usually
fitted with special bodies for their
new role, as well as pulling trailers,
often road trains with more than one
under a 'showman's licence', adding
even more interest. This publication
contains over 400 pictures of circus
vehicles from the 1950s to the 1990s,
with 18 different circuses, including
Billy Smart's, Chipperfields, Gerry
Cottle's and other well-known and
lesser-known names. The pictures were
mostly taken on circus grounds, with
the big top in the background. A few
of the vehicles might have made it
into preservation, but most are just
fond memories, brought back to life by
these pictures.
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The Ghost Train
Guy Belshaw
The Ghost Train An Illustrated History
by Guy Belshaw

Author and historian Guy Belshaw
explores the history of the Ghost
Train: one of the mostenduring and
iconic fairground attractions of the
20th Century.

Corny, scary, or both?

Many children claim to have had several
rides but seen nothing, as their eyes
were tightly shut.

This book pays homage to the builders,
showmen and the artists who have put
their stamp on the macabre ride over
the decades since they first appeared
in the 1930s.

With a foreword by illusionist and
Ghost Train owner, Richard Cadell, the
book takes you inside the spooky world
of the Ghost Train

120 pp Softback. Lavishly illustrated

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Smith, Scrivens & Smith
In the late 1970s, a new group, the
Fairground Association of Great Britain
was formed, and with it came a new
magazine “A Century of Tobers” (later
renamed The Fairground Mercury). One of
the features of this new magazine was a
series of articles which surveyed all
surviving sets of Galloping Horses in
the UK. The articles were later revised
and republished in booklet form, and
have formed the main reference on this
subject for many years.

Over the past few years, the subject
has been more extensively researched by
fairground historians Kevin Scrivens
and Stephen Smith, and the results are
now published in this new book.

The book features around 375 black &
white and colour photos, many of which
have never previously been published.

Fully illustrated throughout.

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Appleby Horse Fair 2017
Mike Barrett
This DVD shows the coverage of the
2017 pilgrimage to the great horse
fair in Cumbria. Double DVD with
162 minutes of compulsive viewing,
includes the river, the lane and the
town. Filming starts about a week
before the fair to capture lots of "on
the road action", beautiful horses &

Programme 162 minutes.
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Fairground Focus No 3 Transport Through the Lens
Malcolm Slater
Following the same format as his
previous two titles the author
continues his look at fairground
transport. Chapters include towing
vehicles, four wheel vehicles, six
wheel vehicles, eight wheel vehicles,
articulated vehicles, ex-military and
buses. Lavishly illustrated with
images from the 1930s and includes for
the first time some of the more modern
vehicles used by showmen in the 20th

Photographs on every page all in Black
and White.
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Appleby Horse Fair 2018
Mike Barrett
This DVD shows the coverage of the
2018 pilgrimage to the great horse
fair in Cumbria. Double DVD with 142
minutes of compulsive viewing.

It includes travellers on the road
with beautiful horses and wagons,
flashing on the lane and in the river

Filming starts about a week before the
fair to capture lots of "on the road
action", beautiful horses & waggons.
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The Great Dorset Steam Fair 2018 - The Great Golden Dorset
The official Great Dorset Steam Fair
2018 DVD. "The Great Golden Dorset".

The essential DVD guide to the 50th
Anniversary Great Dorset Steam Fair.
This Year's DVD encompasses 4 hours
specially extended coverage to celebrate
the 50th Anniversary Show to include
five films over two discs.

Memories Of Michael - In his own words
Michael Oliver MBE recalls the history
of show illustrated by archive video and
photographs. 15mins

Convoy To Blandford - Two weeks before
the show a convoy of First World War
vehicles travelled from Bovington Tank
Museum to Blandford. 19mins

World War One Special Display -
Continuing the tribute at this year’s
show as 2018 marks the 100th anniversary
of the Armistice. 14mins

The 500@50 Steam Anniversary Display -
Martin Oliver always knew they had to
deliver a ‘super special show’ for the
50th and so the idea for 500 steam
engine was born ‘500@50’ 72mins

‘The Great Golden Dorset’ - This is a
general coverage of the 2018 show in the
usual style - of the wide variety of
exhibits, ranging from working steam,
tractors, vintage vehicles, Heavy
Horses, collections, displays, the main
steam arena, the old-time fair and many
working sections etc.

Voice over by John Collins

Total Running Time 4 Hours
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Fairground Magic
This video includes showmen's transport, the pull-on at dawn, day and night operation, with stunning shots of many major rides, and the pull-down after closure. Impressive dusk and night time sequences were filmed showing the fair in action. Many of the rides and atrractions were covered in detail including: Ron Taylor's Boxing Show, Dragon Dancer, Terminator, and Gallopers to name a few.
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A Fairground Heritage - The History of Boston Fair
A documentary programnme about this historic Lincolnshire fair, from its origins in the 11th century to the present day. Using a large quantity of high quality archive film from 1925 to the 1960s, featuring transport, build-ups and rides such as the Moon Rocket, Harry Lee's Steam Yachts and Aspland's Gondola. Combined with up-to-date film and interviews with showmen past and present this programme tells the complete story.
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Fairground Pull-On
For many people the fairground appears as if by magic. One day the streets are normal with shoppers and car parks; the next day the fair has arrived, fully constructed and ready for opening.

This narration-free DVD goes behind the scenes and looks at a different side of the travelling showman's skills as he manoeuvres the enormous loads into position with pin-point accuracy.

The DVD also shows the varied forms of transport still being used by today's travelling showmen, from the vintage Fodens and Scammells to the very latest high tech machines.

Visiting four of the country's leading East Midlands fairs: Nottingham Goose Fair, Stamford Mid-Lent Fair, Cambridge Midsummer Fair and Boston's May Fair, the DVD will appeal to fairground and transport enthusiasts alike.
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The Electric Scenic Railway
Kevin Scrivens & Stephen Smith
An illustrated history of the ‘Scenic
Railway’, a fairground ride propelled by
electric motors in some or all of the
cars. The ‘Scenic’ part refers to the
illustrations painted on the centre
sections of the ride. The idea was
first granted a patent in August 1903.
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Softback Book
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Tornado Smith: The Wall of Death Pioneer
In 2008 Boxford, the home town of George William 'Tornado' Smith, celebrated 80 years of the Wall of Death. This DVD films the celebration weekend & looks at the life and legend of Tornado Smith. It includes interviews with Neil Calladine, Alan Ford and members of the Smith family. With film and photo archive from the 1930s we are able to look back in time and see why Tornado Smith is remembered with such affection as the British Wall of Death Pioneer.
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